A passenger on board a Lufthansa flight from Thailand to Germany on Thursday collapsed and died mid-flight in front of his wife after he started coughing up liters of blood from his mouth and nose, as fellow travelers watched in shock and horror. The unnamed 63-year-old German man was seen boarding the Airbus A380 in Bangkok shortly before midnight.
The man was visibly unwell, showing symptoms such as "cold sweats" and "breathing much too quickly", as recounted by Karin Missfelder to the Swiss German outlet Blick. At first, the man's wife claimed they had to hastily catch the flight, which is why he wasn't feeling well, Missfelder's told the outlet.
Shocking Death Mid-Air
After observing the man, who was traveling with his Filipina wife, for a brief period, Missfelder, a nursing specialist at the University Hospital in Zurich, took action and informed a flight attendant that the passenger required examination by a doctor.
A young Polish man responded to the call, but reportedly, he only asked about the passenger's well-being, checked his pulse, and said that he was okay.
"A flight attendant then reacted and asked him if he was okay, she was very worried," said Missfelder, who was sitting with her husband directly behind the couple.
"They gave him a little chamomile tea, but he already spit blood into the bag that his wife held out to him," said Missfelder's husband, Martin.
The plane had already taken off when the man's condition worsened, with him spitting blood into a bag before a notable "gush" of blood emerged from his mouth and nose.
"It was absolute horror, everyone was screaming," fellow passenger Martin, 53, from Zurich, Switzerland, told Swiss outlet Blick.
No Help, No Reaction Time Before Death
Seeing the man ooze out blood from his mouth and nose, flight attendants quickly responded to the situation. According to Missfelder, the staff kept up what she described as "amateurish" resuscitation attempts, continuing for approximately half an hour. Unfortunately, it became evident that the man could not be saved.
Describing the aftermath, Missfelder said, "It was dead quiet on board." He was then transported into the galley, and the plane had to return to Bangkok. The captain announced over the loudspeaker that there had been a death onboard.
Missfelder said she blamed herself for not taking more action to prevent the tragedy when the plane was still on the ground. The flight turned back to Bangkok Airport, where passengers faced a lack of guidance during a two-hour wait.
"Although immediate and comprehensive first aid measures were taken by the crew and a doctor on board, the passenger died during the flight," a Lufthansa spokesperson confirmed in a statement.
"Our thoughts are with the relatives of the deceased passenger. We also regret the inconvenience caused to the passengers of this flight," the spokesperson said.
Flight data indicates that the plane left Bangkok at 23:50 and returned at 08:28 on Friday morning. Passengers reported that the deceased man's wife had to go through customs alone as they were rebooked on another flight via Hong Kong.
"She stood there all alone and apathetic and had to endure all the formalities," Martin told Blick.